Published: 02nd September 2020
Here's how a 12-year-old boy from Kochi got justice when his gooseberry tree was stolen
Twelve-year-old Pavan Nash speaks how he the Chiri Initiative, a Student Police Cadet programme helped him when his one-year-old gooseberry sapling was stolen by thieves
The Sun was just beginning to set on Njarakkal, a farming village just outside of Kochi city, when a burglary took place in the home of the most upstanding resident of the area. Twelve-year old Pavan Nash was heartbroken when he discovered that the gooseberry tree he had nurtured for over a year was cut off at its roots and snatched by thieves. It had just grown over two feet tall and had grown to become Pavan's greatest source of joy since the lockdown began.
"I had planted the tree along with a jamun plum and a guava sapling around the same time last year, when they were gifted to me from school," says Pavan. "When I found it, it looked like someone had hastily ripped it off. And I was very sad to find it that way because the gooseberry tree was my favourite one. I loved looking after it because its fruits looked like small cricket balls!"
GREEN GIFTS: Pavan was gifted three new saplings
Pavan was adamant that his favourite tree would receive the justice it deserved. Having seen a uniformed figure in his sister Divya's WhatsApp messages, it was the first place he turned to for help. A teacher of hers worked with the Chiri Project (Smile Project), a newly initiated programme of the state's Student Police Cadet programme that offers tele-counselling to students during the lockdown to support them with their mental well-being while they were away from school. Recollecting that the teacher wore something that resembled a police uniform in his display picture, he made a call urgently asking for help from the police force.
In fact, he was in such a hurry to find the culprits, that neither his sister nor his parents knew that he had made the call. In just a matter of days, they were shocked to find out that P Vijayan, Inspector General of Police, got in touch with the officers at Njarakkal Police Station and insisted that they present new saplings to the boy. On August 25, Pavan received a hog plum sapling to plant in place of the one he had lost. Thanks to the story going viral, the family also received a CCTV camera from a well-wisher to ensure that all of Pavan's plants remain safe in the future as well.
And what will Pavan do while he waits for his new sapling to grow as tall as the one he lost? He says, "I want to be a chef when I'm older. I have been cooking a lot in these days that I've spent at home. Whenever my mother bakes a cake, I like to help her with it. When she makes certain curries, I pick the bitter gourds and chillies right from our garden for her to add into it!" And as Pavan's garden grows larger, Chiri's seeds of hope are on the verge of blooming.